Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Learning the Lingo

I think the Kiwi accent is darling. It is also very hard to mimic. In addition to a cute accent, the Kiwis have some interesting phrases that have taken some getting used to.

Yissss and Nawoough.
Yes and no are spelled and used the same way here, but they are said very differently. Yes is yis, just like the onomatopoeia yip, but with an s on the end that is lisped out for a good long ways. Yissss. At least four S's worth.
No is also a long drawn out affair with many hidden vowels. In the US when No is drawn out it generally keeps it's No sound, but here it gets all the vowels. Nawoough. This is the hardest one for me to mimic.

When talking on the phone here in NZ, it is common for the closing statement to be said loudly, and at least one octave higher than the rest of the conversation. The word bye is also drawn out a few seconds longer than what I am used to. It ends up sounding as if the person saying bye cannot wait to get you off the phone. This may be the case as cell phone calls are very expensive here, but as it is used on landlines as well, I think it is just the normal way of signing off. I try not to take it personally.

Sweet as...
This is perplexing phrase. When pronounced with a Kiwi accent it sounds like "Sweet ass," and it reminds me of something my Brother-in-law, JW, would say, but is used as "awesome!" or "cool." I find this phrase perplexing as it is an incomplete simile. Whatever it is that is cool or awesome is as cool or awesome AS... we don't know what. This is one of those phrases that makes me feel old.

This is my most favorite Kiwi expression. Heaps means a lot or very. What I love about heaps is that it is frequently applied to liquids. You can have heaps of rain and eat heaps of soup. When your water breaks you can have heaps of that too. If you are this whale, you can be heaps beached. Heaps is sweet as...


Sarah and Cam said...

oooohhhh.....I love these!! Aussie lingo is so similar, just not as great an accent. The sweet as always stumped me.
How about "tomato sauce" or going on "holiday"

bettyl said...

I have the same troubles with the words and also thought everyone was saying 'sweet ass' and wondering why youngsters got away with being so rude!